Fundamental Rights and Freedom
Scope of Application and Interpretation
1. All Federal and State legislative, executive and judicial organs at all levels shall have the responsibility and duty to respect and enforce the provisions of this Chapter.
2. The fundamental rights and freedoms specified in this Chapter shall be interpreted in a manner conforming to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenants on Human Rights and International instruments adopted by Ethiopia.
Rights to life, the Security of Person and Liberty
Every person has the inviolable and inalienable right to life the security of person and liberty.
Right to Life
Every person has the right to life. No person may be deprived of his life except as a punishment for a serious criminal offence determined by law.
The Right of the Security of Person
Every one has the right to protection against bodily harm.
Right to Liberty
1. No one shall be deprived of his or her liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
2. No person may be subjected to arbitrary arrest, and no person may be detained without a charge or conviction against him.
Prohibition against Inhuman Treatment
1. Everyone has the right to protection against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
2. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude. Trafficking in human beings for whatever purpose is prohibited.
3. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
4. For the purpose of sub-Article 3 of this Article the phrase "forced or compulsory labour" shall not include:
a) Any work or service normally required of a person who is under detention in consequence of a lawful order, or of a person during conditional release from such detention;
b) In the case of conscientious objectors, any service exacted in lieu of compulsory military service;
c) Any service exacted in cases of emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community;
d) Any economic and social development activity voluntarily performed by a community within its locality.
Right of Persons Arrested
1. Persons arrested have the right to be informed promptly, in a language they understand, of the reasons for their arrest and of any charge against them.
2. Persons arrested have the right to remain silent. Upon arrest, they have the right to be informed promptly, in a language they understand, that any statement they make may be used as evidence against them in court.
3. Persons arrested have the right to be brought before a court within 48 hours of their arrest. Such time shall not include the time reasonably required for the journey from the place of arrest to the court. On appearing before a court, they have the right to be given prompt and specific explanation of the reasons for their arrest due to the alleged crime committed.
4. All persons have an inalienable right to petition the court to order their physical release where the arresting police officer or the law enforcer fails to bring them before a court within the prescribed time and to provide reasons for their arrest. Where the interest of justice requires, the court may order the arrested person to remain in custody or, when requested remand him for a time strictly required to carry out the necessary investigation. In determining the additional time necessary for investigation, the court shall ensure that the responsible law enforcement authorities carry out the investigation respecting the arrested personís right to a speedy trial.
5. Persons arrested shall not be compelled to make confessions or admissions which could be used in evidence against them. Any evidence obtained under coercion shall not be admissible.
6. Persons arrested have the right to be released on bail. In exceptional circumstances prescribed by law, the court may deny bail or demand adequate guarantee for the conditional release of the arrested person.
Rights of Persons Accused
1. Accused persons have the right to a public trial by an ordinary court of law within a reasonable time after having been charged. The court may hear cases in a closed session only with a view to protecting the right to privacy of the parties concerned, public morals and national security.
2. Accused persons have the right to be informed with sufficient particulars of the charge brought against them and to be given the charge in writing.
3. During proceedings accused persons have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law and not to be compelled to testify against themselves.
4. Accused persons have the right to full access to any evidence presented against them, to examine witnesses testifying against them, to adduce or to have evidence produced in their own defence, and to obtain the attendance of and examination of witnesses on their behalf before the court.
5. Accused persons have the right to be represented by legal counsel of their choice, and, if they do not have sufficient means to pay for it and miscarriage of justice would result, to be provided with legal representation at state expense.
6. All persons have the right of appeal to the competent court against an order or a judgment of the court which first heard the case.
7. They have the right to request for the assistance of an interpreter at state expense where the court proceedings are conducted in a language they do not understand.
The Rights of Persons Held in Custody and Convicted Prisoners
1. All persons held in custody and persons imprisoned upon conviction and sentencing have the right to treatments respecting their human dignity.
2. All persons shall have the opportunity to communicate with, and to be visited by, their spouses or partners, close relatives, friends, religious councilors, medical doctors and their legal counsel.
Non-retroactivity of Criminal Law
1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed on any person than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-Article 1 of this Article, a law promulgated subsequent to the commission of the offence shall apply if it is advantageous to the accused or convicted person.
Prohibition of Double Jeopardy
No person shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offense for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the criminal law and procedure.
Right to Honour and Reputation
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his human dignity, reputation and honour.
2. Everyone has the right to the free development of his personality in a manner compatible with the rights of other citizens.
3. Everyone has the right to recognition every where as a person.
Right to Equality
All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection without discrimination on grounds of race, nation, nationality, or other social origin, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, property, birth or other status.
Right to Privacy
1. Everyone has the right to privacy. This right shall include the right not to be subjected to searches of his home, person or property, or the seizure of any property under his personal possession.
2. Everyone has the right to the inviolability of his notes and correspondence including postal letters, and communications made by means of telephone, telecommunications and electronic devices.
3. Public officials shall respect and protect these rights. No restrictions may be placed on the enjoyment of such rights except in compelling circumstances and in accordance with specific laws whose purposes shall be the safeguarding of national security or public peace, the prevention of crimes or the protection of health, public morality or the rights and freedoms of others.
Freedom of Religion, Belief and Opinion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include the freedom to hold or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and the freedom, either individually or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-Article 2 of Article 90, believers may establish institutions of religious education and administration in order to propagate and organize their religion.
3. No one shall be subject to coercion or other means which would restrict or prevent his freedom to hold a belief of his choice.
4. Parents and legal guardians have the right to bring up their children ensuring their religious and moral education in conformity with their own convictions.
5. Freedom to express or manifest oneís religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, peace, health, education, public morality or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, and to ensure the independence of the state from religion.
Crimes Against Humanity
1. Criminal liability of persons who commit crimes against humanity, so defined by international agreements ratified by Ethiopia and by other laws of Ethiopia, such as genocide, summary executions, forcible disappearances or torture shall not be barred by statute of limitation. Such offences may not be commuted by amnesty or pardon of the legislature or any other state organ.
2. In the case of persons convicted of any crime stated in sub-Article 1 of this Article and sentenced with the death penalty, the Head of State may, without prejudice to the provisions here in above, commute the punishment to life imprisonment.